Take It or Leave It . . .

I decided to try a little experiment with my year 8 class today. We have been studying the Middle Ages in Humanities this term.

They have a number of projects on the go – they have to:

*    research how castles are built, construct a model and devise a defensive battle plan;
*    choose  a method of punishment/torture and prepare an information product to share with the class;
*    research the imagery and meaning associated with family crests and design their own coat of arms for classroom display.

I supported the research by providing links on our virtual classroom, our Hums Domain Leader organised a box-of-books from the library and an incursion by Days of Knights (they were definitely worth the money).

We are working our way towards writing an essay comparing life in medieval times to life in modern times.

Today while they were working on the various things they need to do before the deadline of next week (“Are we managing personal learning today, Miss?”), I had a powerpoint of castle pictures (finally my holiday snaps are useful in the classroom) running at the front of the room and the TV running a DVD of a medieval life documentary at the back of the room. Both media were just running over and over and students could tune in and out as they wanted to . . . just like when we are at home working in front of the TV! “You mean multi-tasking, Miss” (never underestimate your audience!)

It was interesting to observe the way my students worked but actually did tune in and out. They would stop me every now and again to ask about one of the photos. In our second session in the afternoon they asked if we were going to have the DVD again (it had run through 3 complete cycles in our earlier session).

My VCE English Unit 1 students studied “Witness” as a film text in term one. After our close study while they were working on theme work and essay practice, they would often put the film on as background noise and tune in and out. It didn’t stop them from ‘working’ and each time they would notice something different or a penny would finally drop.

I plan to try this multi-tasking method of providing information more often in my classroom (as technology will allow . . . I don’t have a permanent TV or data show projector in my room).


Posted on September 2, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Helen,
    I loved teaching Middle Ages when I taught grade 7/8. The class was divided into villages, with a lord, lady and other roles all drawn from the hat. Each village then had their own blog where each person had to write posts according to their role.

    I gave some suggestions about what they could write about and included crests, building castle, jousting etc. The kids loved it once they got used to the blogging side of it.

    • Hi Tasteach

      Thanks for the comment! I am new to teaching Humanities and enjoying it all, but this era has been my favourite. I like that blogging idea, might use it next time round (*u*) We have been talking about having a class blog but aren’t quite there yet . . . a goal for next term maybe.


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